3ds max speed modeling for 3d artists pdf


 

3ds Max Speed Modeling for 3D Artists. Pages Flex your speed modeling muscles using 3ds Max. Thomas Mastering Autodesk 3ds Max pdf. content creation methods aimed at 3ds Max modelers preparing to show their skill to the industry. 3ds Max Speed Modeling for 3D Artists - pdf - Free IT. 3ds Max Speed Modeling for 3D Artists Thomas Mooney Chapter No. 1 "First Launch: Getting to Know 3ds Max" In this package, you will find: A Biography of the.

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3ds Max Speed Modeling For 3d Artists Pdf

Selection from 3ds Max Speed Modeling for 3D Artists [Book] that Packt offers eBook versions of every book published, with PDF and ePub files available?. Is your 3D modeling up to speed? It soon will be with this brilliant practical guide to speed modeling with 3ds Max, focusing on hard surfaces. Is your 3d modeling up to speed it soon will be with this brilliant practical guide to speed modeling with 3ds max focusing on hard surfaces book description.

It soon will be with this brilliant practical guide to speed modeling with 3ds Max, focusing on hard surfaces. Raise your productivity a notch and gain a new level of professionalism. Overview Learn to speed model in 3ds Max, with an emphasis on hard surfaces Up to date coverage, covering 3ds Max features Focused explanations with step-driven practical lessons balance learning and action What you will learn from this book Modeling processes using the Ribbon Ways to create a customized UI for accessing modeling tools faster Modeling using modifiers and deformations UV mapping and topology effect readiness for sculpting How to work with GoZ and ZBrush Procedures for painting models using Viewport Canvas Concepts of game-readiness Retopology and polygon reduction methods Easy rigging, skinning and animation walk-throughs Gain fluency in UV mapping and texture creation How to render and present your models for your folio Approach Step by step illustrated tutorials are supported by a focused commentary. The examples are designed to proceed from starting to model through model finishing to putting models to work within projects and presentation. The book shows both - the entire flow of asset creation and granular methodology.

You can also zoom if you scroll the mouse wheel, but that is an incremental zoom. This somewhat clunky key combo can be changed to suit in the Customize Customize UI Interface dialog in the Mouse tab in the settings under Category Navigation. This has several tabs at the top. Click on the one called Mouse. The default zoom uses the center of the active view.

The zoom options just mentioned use the cursor location in the view. Checking these two options lets you zoom into objects under the cursor more easily, without having to pan. Below this is a numerical input field for Wheel Zoom Increment. The lowest number it accepts is 0. Enter 0. This scene has been scaled so that this value works well. In larger scenes, you may find the increment doesn't work so well.

The thing to do is try out values until you're happy. Notice as you zoom now with the mouse wheel in the Orthographic views top, front, and left that zoom has a different feel than scrolling in the Perspective view, which seems faster. To reframe a view, if you are lost, it helps to select an object or polygon and press Zoom Extents Selected, discussed next.

When you are spinning around an object, it frames the selection in the current view. The default for the flyout with the icon is Zoom Extents, which frames the whole scene, but I find that Zoom Extents Selected is much more useful because it lets us locate items we've selected by name. Select By Name H is a command that lets you choose objects from a pop-up list. You can also use the legacy Orbit command via its icon in the view controls panel.

If you drag outside the circle, the cursor changes to indicate you'll tilt the view. The Orbit icon we mentioned, , actually has three settings. I find that almost always I use just one, but it isn't the default. If you click-and-hold the flyout icon, it reveals three options.

Any icon in 3ds Max with a black triangle in the bottom-right corner has the same flyout options, a convention also seen in many other applications. The following screenshot shows the flyout buttons: The uppermost option is Orbit Scene, the middle option is Orbit Selected, and the lowest option is Orbit SubObject. The last option works well when you are editing some small part of an object and want to orbit around that part, but it also works fine at any level of selection. Usually I set 3ds Max to use this and leave it that way.

It is debatable how many people really use this tool, but for new users it is certainly a good way for learning how 3D space works. Power users will probably turn it off to save memory.

Of course, it is possible many people love it. There are four components in the ViewCube. The first is the Home button, which lets you store and return to a bookmarked view that you have set by right-clicking on the Home button. The second component of the ViewCube is the cube itself.

You can click on its faces, on its edges, and on its corners. The third component is the Tumble tool that appears if you are viewing the face of the cube, which rolls the camera 90 degrees at a time when clicked. The fourth component is the Axial Orbit tool shaped like a circular compass under the cube, which lets you spin the scene. It only allows one degree of freedom, unlike Orbit mode. If you like the ViewCube but don't like the compass under it, you can turn the Compass display off in its configuration.

Making adjustments to the ViewCube display The following steps walk you through the use of the ViewCube in order to familiarize yourself with its settings, so you can decide which to opt for. There is a checkbox labeled Show the ViewCube, which you can turn off if you don't like the ViewCube. If you do like it, but want to work a little more efficiently, click the radio button Only in Active View.

You can only use the ViewCube in the view you are currently in, so it saves a little memory to not have four of them spinning around at once. The left-hand side example is set to tiny, which is usable but problematic because the labels aren't visible, and the normal size is on the right.

The large size is simply massive, and this is a case where small is probably better. No doubt the default size is too distracting to trouble with. You can also adjust how visible it is using Inactive Opacity in the same section. In the viewport configuration options for the ViewCube, it is definitely a good idea to check the Snap to Closest View checkbox, to help keep the regular viewing angles lined up.

Clicking Fit-to-View on View Change means that whenever you change the camera using the ViewCube, you'll be zooming to the scene extents, which is probably not desirable unless you are editing only one model. It definitely speeds up your work flow if you turn off Use Animated Transitions options when Switching Views. The transition is snappy, and you won't waste time waiting for the camera to animate through its turn.

Having the Keep Scene Upright checkbox checked is a good idea, just for stability in the view. Navigation with the Steering Wheel The Steering Wheel is an interesting but slightly twitchy tool introduced to 3ds Max in an attempt to provide game-like navigation, where you can fly or drive through the scene.

New users, who will get used to this tool, will probably get a lot out of it, but users already familiar with the classic navigation methods already discussed will probably avoid it.

Strangely, I like it when I remember to use it, but that is only in cases when I have to explain how viewport navigation can work. Still, there are a few features that are outstanding when using the Steering Wheel, in particular the Rewind and Walk tools.

The reason is the hotkey is set in the context of the Steering Wheel group, not the main UI group. The reliable way to activate the Steering Wheel is to go to the Views menu and choose Steering Wheels Toggle Steering Wheel or choose one of the different modes it offers there. It is also possible to assign Toggle Steering Wheel as an entry in the Quads menu for speedy access. We'll use this scene to drive around using the Steering Wheel to compare how it feels in comparison to the regular navigation tools.

For a scene like this, which is surrounded on four sides by walls, the Steering Wheel actually responds very nicely. The slight lag in getting it started is the only drawback.

There are four types of steering wheels. The default is the Full Navigation Wheel. The others are streamlined derivations of it. All of these can be accessed from the down arrow icon on the lower corner of the Steering Wheel, shown in the following screenshot: [ 29 ] For More Information: www. Try looking around the scene, and notice how it differs from the Orbit command, which turns around a pivot. After you have looked around, try using the Rewind command. This will present you with a filmstrip of prior views that you can slide along to choose among them.

The following screenshot shows the Look control highlighted. Each section of the wheel will be highlighted green, and then when you drag the cursor, the camera will act accordingly. A tool tip appears underneath the Look Tool label, and a cursor replaces the wheel when it's being used. This can be moved by pressing Orbit while holding Ctrl. Once you have moved the cursor where you want the pivot to be, as shown in the following screenshot, releasing it will allow you to orbit around the new pivot.

This can be changed. Press F3 in the Perspective view. The view changes to Wireframe. Press it again; the view changes back to Shaded mode. In Shaded mode, press F4 to turn on and off Edged Faces.

This is a technology update that allows faster shadow computation; therefore, faster view spinning, better texture resolution, and better lighting. By default, views are lit using virtual, hidden lights you can't edit. Once you add your own lights and in this scene there is a Daylight System , you can set the view to render those, which helps you design shadow casting and so on.

Look on the right-hand side to the Lighting and Shadows section. For the Illuminate with option, click on the Scene Lights radio button. Turning off Highlights will prevent glare from glossy surfaces, so you can always see the edged faces on a surface. Sometimes it is nice to model with a glossy surface to help view the form changes, but often it means you'll not be able to tell what you are doing as the highlight eclipses the mesh wireframe. You can raise or lower the Lighting and Shadows Quality, where lower values calculate faster often without an apparent drop in visual quality.

Model display Neutral, consistent colors tend to be the easiest to look at when viewing un-textured models. By default, 3ds Max applies random colors to each new model. The shaded surface and wireframe share this color. Sometimes, the viewport lighting causes surface shine to obscure some of the mesh edges, as shown in the following screenshot on the left-hand side: In this section, we'll change this so all models get the same wireframe color and have a neutral gray material, as shown on the right-hand side in the preceding screenshot: 1.

Open the Material Editor M. In 3ds Max , you should see a version of the Material Editor called Slate. The legacy Compact Material Editor is still available, but for now Slate will do fine. This assumes you have iRay set as your renderer, which is also the installation default. If not, you can set a Standard Material instead. The Autodesk Generic Material defaults to a dark gray color, which is possibly a bit heavy.

To change this, double-click on the Material node and notice that on the right the Default Generic properties display. Click on OK. Materials that are assigned to a selected object are displayed in the Material Editor with white corners around the sample preview, as shown in the following screenshot: 4. In 3ds Max , dotted white edges appear around a node that is showing its parameters in the Parameter Editor panel on the right-hand of the Material Editor.

At the top of the Material properties panel, you can name this material Model in the text field. Although this material is a neutral gray, it doesn't affect the wireframe displayed; it can if you access the Display tab of Command Panel and choose Display Color Wireframe Material Color. A better way to display the model, however, is to have the surface shaded with the Material color and the Wireframe set to the Object Color. Click on the color picker to the right-hand of the object name, which is Box, and the following dialog will pop up: 8.

Choose a dark color, such as the blue color, as shown in the preceding screenshot, in the Current Color slot. A light color may reflect scene light and make it difficult to tell what is going on, especially when you are zoomed in on a model.

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Uncheck the checkbox for Assign Random Colors, so that each newly created object gets the same color. You can still change colors, but do so in a logical way. Set your own classifying criteria, such as all animated objects are dark green and all static objects are blue. This is easiest to set after creation. Setting scene units The way physical-based lighting performs when your scene renders is scene-scale dependent. Setting up scene units helps you to achieve real-world scale to your model.

Sometimes, you may not want to work in real-world scale, especially if your objects have to match to the objects in another application when they are exported. The following instructions show how to set custom scene units: 1. Every scene is saved with its own units of measurement. If your default scene has a unit setting different from the scene you're loading, you'll be prompted to choose the one that you prefer to use. The Generic Units radio button is active by default, and the measurements for this are set via the System Unit Setup button at the top of the window, shown on the left-hand side.

Click this to expose the pop up on the right. Searching for content in the scene In a scene with hundreds of models or model components, naming objects is probably the best way to keep content easy to access. There are a few ways to rename an object. One way is to type in the Modify Panel the name you want in this field: You can also rename objects by selecting them in the scene or highlighting them in the Layer Manager, and choosing Rename Objects from the Tools menu.

Another way, if you are using the Outliner script we discussed earlier, is to double-click on the object label. In the following steps, we will look for a single object amid hundreds using filters: 1.

This scene is made of hundreds of objects mostly called Object and Part and so on. You could use the Select by Name tool, and you could use the Outliner to browse the scene. Another way is to use Tools New Scene Explorer. In the Scene Explorer window that pops up, you get a list of objects rather similar to the Outliner script's Hierarchy mode list. At the top, there is a menu called Select.

Open this and choose Search from the bottom of the menu, as shown in the following screenshot. You can alternatively click on the icon Configure Advanced Filter from the vertical icons. For instance, expand the Property list and choose Hidden, and set the Condition to Is so that only hidden objects will be searched. Notice that the object Skydome is the only hidden object.

It is highlighted in yellow. You can unhide it using Outliner or if you right-click in the scene and choose Unhide All from the Quad menu, then similarly freeze it. In the Advanced Filter window, click on Remove. This clears the current filter.

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Quick access to these is very important. Also, some objects can be hard to directly select if they are surrounded by or covered by others. By default, the H key is reserved for the Select by Name option, but if you take up the free script Outliner, you may have to change that. You can also use Named Selections, which lets you create a hot list of entries of your own.

This rolls down from the main toolbar, as shown in the following screenshot, where it says Sky: 1. Open Begin. Click on Sky. This is a huge sky dome that provides a background for the scene. When you launch, it is hidden and frozen, but when you choose it, you'll see a prompt checking whether or not you want to reveal it.

This prompt appears because its hidden state is set for its layer. You can either choose Yes, and the object will be revealed, or No, and the object will be selected but remain hidden.

Its entire layer will be affected. Add to the list of Named Selections by choosing some objects in the scene and then typing an entry in the Create Selection Set text field where Sky is included.

After typing, be sure to press Enter to commit the entry. Now you'll want to edit entries in the Named Selections list. Click on the icon next to the text field, or go to the Edit menu and choose Manage Selections Sets, which pops up the same window.

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Let's add an object in the scene to the existing set of Lines. The icons for managing objects include Remove which removes a list or objects from a list; it doesn't remove them from the scene , Select Objects in Set which works if you don't have them selected to start with , and Highlight Selected Objects which shows in the list the items currently selected in the scene if they belong to a given Named Selection Set.

They are highlighted in blue. Using a Named Selection is a good way to add a selection shortcut to each joint in a biped when you do character animation.

There are many preferences in 3ds Max, but only a few that really make a big difference when starting to model. These include auto-save settings, the option to increment files when saving, levels of undo, whether to use large or small icons, whether to display certain warnings each time you take certain steps, and removing some small elements of clutter from the UI. In the General tab, you can set the number of Scene Undo levels higher if you have a lot of RAM and think you might need more undo steps.

Alternatively, you can reduce the number so your session has less overhead. This is called the Reference Coordinate System. This can be annoying, since you have to track which system is active for which transform mode. The preference Ref. System Constant checkbox keeps the system you set as current across all the transform types when you switch from one transform to another. It is probably a good idea to turn off the Use Large Toolbar Buttons checkbox; it allows a little more screen space for the viewports, and also you can fit more icons in the toolbars.

The next few options are for reducing pop-up warnings that, if you know what you are doing, are somewhat distracting. The first is the Display Topology-Dependence Warning checkbox.

If it is checked, it will tell you whether a Modifier you're collapsing would depend on a SubObject selection points, edges, and so on from below in the Modifier stack, or when you change the SubObject selection while other Modifiers are using that selection.

The next is the Display Stack Collapse Warning checkbox, which occurs when you use the option to collapse modifiers, essentially merging their result. Also, you have three choices for how to deal with unhiding content on layers that are hidden. By default, you're asked if you want to unhide the layers and the object Ask. You can set it so that the layers are always unhidden too Propagate , or the layers are never unhidden too Do not Propagate.

It requires some housekeeping occasionally but is a safe option, since if you save over your work or something else goes wrong computers! You may feel that this is unnecessary information, and those can be turned off individually. If you are opening a very old maxfile from earlier versions, sometimes an obsolete file, a message will appear warning you to re-save. This can be turned off here by ticking off Display Obsolete File Message.

In the Viewports tab, there is nothing much to change. Set Display World Axis should be unchecked.

This gets rid of the tiny, slightly obtrusive axis in the corner of each viewport. Of course, if you like it there, you can leave it on, but if you want to check which way the world X axis is, for instance, create a Box and enter Move mode with the View or World reference coordinate system active.

Finally, the number of auto-backup files and the duration that they are saved is set at the bottom of the Files tab, in the Auto Backup section. Once you've written the amount of files that you've set as the number to save, they'll start saving over each other, starting with the oldest. Broadly speaking, if you set 10 backups at minute intervals, that is enough to provide you with minutes of continual work that you can look back on if you decide you need to go back in time.

You can revert your display settings to Direct3D alone, or to OpenGL, or even Software, but it depends on what hardware you are using, particularly your graphics card. If you are using a laptop with an integrated graphics card, you may be best off with Software or OpenGL rendering, but this will likely not be very fast or look as good. Nitrous views depend on access to the GPU graphics card cores to provide a responsive, high-quality viewport shading, and this is what gives you realtime ambient occlusion soft shadows and accurate shadow casting and reflective, transparent surfaces in the viewport even with unlimited lights.

Summary By now you should be progressing with view navigation and have gained a feeling for just how much functionality is packed into the menus and dialogs of 3ds Max. You'll quickly find that what you're unfamiliar with at first, in the topics we've covered in this chapter, becomes intuitive with practice.

By the end of the next chapter, no doubt you'll be flying around views, panels, tabs, and menus without thinking, ready for the next challenge. We've covered a few niche methods of navigation as well as the main methods, and you'll be able to decide for yourself whether you want to use the middle mouse navigation method and hotkeys, or ViewCube and Steering Wheel.

It takes time to decide which tools are best to use and where to place them. Do you use the Quad menu, keyboard shortcuts, a toolbar, or mouse click to the default locations? Each user will develop a different preference. I've provided a complete UI preset that I like, which has most of the day-to-day modeling tools set in the Quad menu. At first it took a while for me to get used to this streamlined layout, since I was more used to the regular tool layout, but it didn't take long before I was enjoying a faster working speed.

There is a version for and In later chapters, this UI will be referenced often, but the commands are also described in terms of their default layout in case you prefer to work with a "fresh install" style UI.

One benefit of only using 3ds Max in its default state is that whenever you set it up, you're always going to be in a familiar place.

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In the next chapter, we will look at general considerations for model handling, supposing you may want to work with an already built model. The main thrust will be toward ensuring you use 3ds Max's scene organization, visibility, and collaboration tools well. Here you can see a list of tool-based settings and a list of UI schemes on the right. Making changes to hotkeys Let's change the rather annoying Selection Lock Toggle.

When turned on, this toggle prevents you from selecting anything else, which can be handy if you intend it to be on, but not so nice if you toggle it on by mistake.

Since its hotkey is Space, you can imagine this to be easy to do. This is done as follows: 1. Go to the Customize menu and choose Customize User Interface. This window pops up with the Keyboard tab selected, so all we need to do is browse down the alphabetical list of Actions for Selection Lock Toggle, which also shows its icon the padlock found under the time slider.

First, the hotkey Space will show next to Selection Lock Toggle. Don't forget to press Save at the bottom of the window. You'll be prompted to save a. It will be saved with the UI next time you save the UI, and 3ds Max does this anyway when you end the session. Most commands in 3ds Max let you set a hotkey. You can view the assigned keys by browsing the Shortcut list. Or you can go to the Help menu and choose Keyboard Shortcut Map, which opens an interactive shockwave image that exposes main hotkeys as you roll over a diagram of a keyboard.

Note that this handy utility only shows default hotkeys. Not all the default hotkeys are as convenient as they could be. The Scale command actually is a flyout with three options. Unfortunately, Smart Scale is not very smart, and often you'll only want to use the regular scale tool only to find you've actually cycled through to the Squash option.

There's a very handy shortcut called Transform tools. This tool can be found in the Edit menu, where it's called Transform Toolbox. It doesn't have a hotkey by default. We'll discuss its functionality later on, and make frequent use of it as we model. Another tool that is often used, which doesn't come with a hotkey, is the Manage Layers dialog, which is used for organizing scene content by layer and also for hiding and freezing content.

Since I use this tool often, I've taken to setting it to Space, since it doesn't matter if I tap on it by mistake; it is easy to notice the dialog when it opens or closes. As well as using the Layer Manager, you may want to get the free script Outliner 2 which imitates the Autodesk Maya Outliner from The link downloads a. Once installed, this uses the hotkey H, which overrides the Select By Name tool's hotkey, so you may want to set Select by Name to another hotkey or use a different hotkey for the Outliner.

Note that content hidden by the By Layer option in the Layer Manager can't be unhidden by the Outliner if you are in Hierarchy mode.

At the bottom of the Outliner there is an icon that enables Layer mode, a substitute for the actual Layer Manager. For instance, you can press the Select icon or press Q or you can right-click and choose Select from the Quad menu.

This menu can be changed to suit your need, though part of its utility comes from memorizing its layout for speedy access, so making changes often may defeat the purpose.

Still, there are a few tools that you'll regularly use that could benefit from being in the Quad menu. Swift Loop is a tool used to add additional edge loops to an Editable Poly model. We'll discuss its use later too, but in brief, you can add a box to your scene, right-click on it, and choose Quad menu Convert To: Editable Poly. Clicking this enters a mode whereby clicking on an edge will add a perpendicular loop to the model. Using the Swift Loop tool is very handy, but accessing it from the Ribbon time and again is frustrating.

It would be better to add it to the Quad menu, where it is always right under the cursor. The following demonstration shows how to add this commonly used modeling tool to the Quad menu: 1.

Previously, we changed settings in the Keyboard tab; this time, skip over to the Toolbars tab to get the Quads tab. Several common tools are arranged for easy, swift access. There is a version for both and version of 3ds Max. There are four squares on the right side of the UI, with the transform section highlighted in yellow. Click on the lower-left square tools 2.

Of course, you can drop it where you like, but this is a reasonable location, and it will show up as shown in the following screenshot when you right-click to access the Quad menu. At the bottom of the window, press Save and try it out. A preference you may want to set while in the Quads tab of the Customize User Interface dialog is to turn off Show All Quads option, via its tickbox. What this does is it only displays the part of the quad box that you highlight with the mouse.

It uses less screen space as only a quarter of the menu is seen at one time. Note that there are contextual Quad menus depending on what mode you are working in, and you can edit these by expanding the rollout that shows Default Viewport Quad.

Also, you will notice there are hotkeys to filter the Quad menu. This is quicker than moving the cursor up to the Snap icon to right-click and access the Grid and Snap Settings menu.

The hotkey for entering Snap mode is S and it uses whatever settings you most recently set. Snaps are used for precision modeling, and snapping functionality is discussed further in Chapter 5, The Language of Machines: Designing and Building Model Components.

Making changes to the view layout The most obvious way to change the viewports is to resize the default 4 x 4 panels by dragging their inner frame border. There are more controls for the view arrangement. Click this tab and notice the two rows of preset panel layouts. Click on any of them, and then click on the large panels that are labeled with the current setting.

A list will appear with the available options you can set. This method is the only way to swap out a Track View option that has been set in a viewport, so keep it in mind if you do any animation.

Some of its navigation tools go way back to the early days, and over time some replacement navigation tools have been added. If you are used to an old navigation method, then a new one sometimes doesn't appear to add any advantage, whereas to a new user or a user familiar with other applications using the same method , it can seem obvious to use the newer tool. We're going to evaluate all the methods to navigate the views, and you can decide for yourself which you prefer.

Remember that if you use more than one 3D application, then it is always a good practice to use the same method in both cases, especially for scene navigation.

Unfortunately, few applications share common UI defaults. You will notice that the Orthographic views pan is less jumpy than the Perspective view. The quickest way to access Orbit mode is to hold Alt and drag the middle mouse button. All the main navigation modes make use of the middle mouse button.

There are, however, other ways to orbit. Their functions will be discussed as we go through this chapter. Open the. You will see an assembly of un-textured models that form an industrial platform. We'll practice zooming around these, as having objects in the scene gives a more visceral feeling to the views than an empty scene does.

In the bottom-right corner of the UI there is a panel of viewport control buttons. In the following screenshot, these buttons are shown on the left for the Perspective view and are shown on the right for the Orthographic views basically the same except for Region Zoom shown by default in Orthographic as FOV doesn't work in Orthographic views.

Zoom mode, if chosen here with the magnifying glass icon, permits a very smooth forward and backward motion of the virtual camera. You can also zoom if you scroll the mouse wheel, but that is an incremental zoom.

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This somewhat clunky key combo can be changed to suit in the Customize Customize UI Interface dialog in the Mouse tab in the settings under Category Navigation. This has several tabs at the top. Click on the one called Mouse. The default zoom uses the center of the active view. The zoom options just mentioned use the cursor location in the view.

Checking these two options lets you zoom into objects under the cursor more easily, without having to pan. Below this is a numerical input field for Wheel Zoom Increment. The lowest number it accepts is Enter 0. This scene has been scaled so that this value works well. In larger scenes, you may find the increment doesn't work so well. The thing to do is try out values until you're happy. Notice as you zoom now with the mouse wheel in the Orthographic views top, front, and left that zoom has a different feel than scrolling in the Perspective view, which seems faster.

To reframe a view, if you are lost, it helps to select an object or polygon and press Zoom Extents Selected, discussed next. When you are spinning around an object, it frames the selection in the current view. The default for the flyout with the icon is Zoom Extents, which frames the whole scene, but I find that Zoom Extents Selected is much more useful because it lets us locate items we've selected by name.

Select By Name H is a command that lets you choose objects from a pop-up list. You can also use the legacy Orbit command via its icon in the view controls panel. If you drag outside the circle, the cursor changes to indicate you'll tilt the view. The Orbit icon we mentioned,, actually has three settings. I find that almost always I use just one, but it isn't the default.

If you click-and-hold the flyout icon, it reveals three options. Any icon in 3ds Max with a black triangle in the bottom-right corner has the same flyout options, a convention also seen in many other applications. The following screenshot shows the flyout buttons: The uppermost option is Orbit Scene, the middle option is Orbit Selected, and the lowest option is Orbit SubObject. The last option works well when you are editing some small part of an object and want to orbit around that part, but it also works fine at any level of selection.

Usually I set 3ds Max to use this and leave it that way. It is debatable how many people really use this tool, but for new users it is certainly a good way for learning how 3D space works.

Power users will probably turn it off to save memory.

Of course, it is possible many people love it. There are four components in the ViewCube. The first is the Home button, which lets you store and return to a bookmarked view that you have set by right-clicking on the Home button. The second component of the ViewCube is the cube itself. You can click on its faces, on its edges, and on its corners. The third component is the Tumble tool that appears if you are viewing the face of the cube, which rolls the camera 90 degrees at a time when clicked.

The fourth component is the Axial Orbit tool shaped like a circular compass under the cube, which lets you spin the scene. It only allows one degree of freedom, unlike Orbit mode. If you like the ViewCube but don't like the compass under it, you can turn the Compass display off in its configuration. Making adjustments to the ViewCube display The following steps walk you through the use of the ViewCube in order to familiarize yourself with its settings, so you can decide which to opt for.

There is a checkbox labeled Show the ViewCube, which you can turn off if you don't like the ViewCube. If you do like it, but want to work a little more efficiently, click the radio button Only in Active View. You can only use the ViewCube in the view you are currently in, so it saves a little memory to not have four of them spinning around at once.

The left-hand side example is set to tiny, which is usable but problematic because the labels aren't visible, and the normal size is on the right. The large size is simply massive, and this is a case where small is probably better. No doubt the default size is too distracting to trouble with. You can also adjust how visible it is using Inactive Opacity in the same section. In the viewport configuration options for the ViewCube, it is definitely a good idea to check the Snap to Closest View checkbox, to help keep the regular viewing angles lined up.

Clicking Fit-to-View on View Change means that whenever you change the camera using the ViewCube, you'll be zooming to the scene extents, which is probably not desirable unless you are editing only one model. It definitely speeds up your work flow if you turn off Use Animated Transitions options when Switching Views.

The transition is snappy, and you won't waste time waiting for the camera to animate through its turn. Having the Keep Scene Upright checkbox checked is a good idea, just for stability in the view. Navigation with the Steering Wheel The Steering Wheel is an interesting but slightly twitchy tool introduced to 3ds Max in an attempt to provide game-like navigation, where you can fly or drive through the scene. New users, who will get used to this tool, will probably get a lot out of it, but users already familiar with the classic navigation methods already discussed will probably avoid it.

Strangely, I like it when I remember to use it, but that is only in cases when I have to explain how viewport navigation can work. Still, there are a few features that are outstanding when using the Steering Wheel, in particular the Rewind and Walk tools.

The reason is the hotkey is set in the context of the Steering Wheel group, not the main UI group. The reliable way to activate the Steering Wheel is to go to the Views menu and choose Steering Wheels Toggle Steering Wheel or choose one of the different modes it offers there. It is also possible to assign Toggle Steering Wheel as an entry in the Quads menu for speedy access.

We'll use this scene to drive around using the Steering Wheel to compare how it feels in comparison to the regular navigation tools. For a scene like this, which is surrounded on four sides by walls, the Steering Wheel actually responds very nicely. The slight lag in getting it started is the only drawback. There are four types of steering wheels. The default is the Full Navigation Wheel.

The others are streamlined derivations of it. All of these can be accessed from the down arrow icon on the lower corner of the Steering Wheel, shown in the following screenshot: [ 29 ] 28 First Launch: Getting to Know 3ds Max The Look command allows you to orbit around the camera's location, a lot like the 'look around' control in many 3D games. Try looking around the scene, and notice how it differs from the Orbit command, which turns around a pivot.

After you have looked around, try using the Rewind command. This will present you with a filmstrip of prior views that you can slide along to choose among them. The following screenshot shows the Look control highlighted. Each section of the wheel will be highlighted green, and then when you drag the cursor, the camera will act accordingly.

A tool tip appears underneath the Look Tool label, and a cursor replaces the wheel when it's being used. This can be moved by pressing Orbit while holding Ctrl.

Once you have moved the cursor where you want the pivot to be, as shown in the following screenshot, releasing it will allow you to orbit around the new pivot. This can be changed. Press F3 in the Perspective view. The view changes to Wireframe. Press it again; the view changes back to Shaded mode. In Shaded mode, press F4 to turn on and off Edged Faces. This is a technology update that allows faster shadow computation; therefore, faster view spinning, better texture resolution, and better lighting.

By default, views are lit using virtual, hidden lights you can't edit. Once you add your own lights and in this scene there is a Daylight System , you can set the view to render those, which helps you design shadow casting and so on. Look on the right-hand side to the Lighting and Shadows section. For the Illuminate with option, click on the Scene Lights radio button.

Turning off Highlights will prevent glare from glossy surfaces, so you can always see the edged faces on a surface. Sometimes it is nice to model with a glossy surface to help view the form changes, but often it means you'll not be able to tell what you are doing as the highlight eclipses the mesh wireframe. You can raise or lower the Lighting and Shadows Quality, where lower values calculate faster often without an apparent drop in visual quality. Model display Neutral, consistent colors tend to be the easiest to look at when viewing un-textured models.

By default, 3ds Max applies random colors to each new model. The shaded surface and wireframe share this color. Sometimes, the viewport lighting causes surface shine to obscure some of the mesh edges, as shown in the following screenshot on the left-hand side: In this section, we'll change this so all models get the same wireframe color and have a neutral gray material, as shown on the right-hand side in the preceding screenshot: 1.

Open the Material Editor M. In 3ds Max , you should see a version of the Material Editor called Slate.

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